Blog > The Future of Kolab Now: Part II

The Future of Kolab Now: Part II

Kolab Now is a paid online service, where users can pay for their subscription and used resources via credit card, PayPal, bank transfer (and in the future, bitcoin). It is the task of a centerpiece module called the Hosted Kolab Customer Control Panel (HKCCP) to manage and administer the subscriptions and payments (among other tasks).

Over the years we have received feedback from users with constructive, honest criticism about the level of flexibility in the payment system. Users have wanted greater control of when to pay, and the actual services and resources paid for. As we always strive to improve the user experience, we listened and made accommodating changes to the payment system in the new updated HKCCP.

A new payment model

The first and most fundamental change to mention is, that after the update to the new HKCCP, you will pay for what you have used last month. This is in contrast to the existing system, which requires you to pay for the subscriptions of the coming month, quarter or year.  We will simply transition from invoicing you for your future use to charging your account balance according to what you already have used.

Through the new cockpit you will be able to top-up your account balance at any time with any amount that you wish. When a payment is due, the amount of the payment due will be deducted from your account balance. If the account balance falls below a threshold, we’ll remind you. You can also choose to top-up your account balance with money in advance, so as to pay for your future usage.

This new model of payment gives you additional flexibility in deciding when you want to pay without removing the possibility to pay in advance as you are used to.

In addition to that it opens the path for future enhancements and services that have an additional cost per usage associated with it (which we pay for directly). As an example, we’ve talked about second factor authentication for IMAP and SMTP clients like Thunderbird, for which we have an implementation that lets you click a link on your mobile phone, sent to you through SMS. We could relay the costs of doing so on to the corresponding account balance, since obviously it costs us money to send the confirmation message. This is something that would have been impossible with the old model. Another entirely new model that would be possible is a change to “Pay As You Go”, where the charges depend not on your subscriptions, but how often or how many or how much you actually use them — like paying only for the storage you use, rather than for the upper limit.

More payment options

With the switch to the new HKCCP comes a switch to a new payment service provider. We will introduce Mollie instead of Stripe. Mollie allows us to offer different local payment methods in addition to what is currently available. These include Klarna, giropay, eps and many more. Mollie not being based in the US is a further benefit, and transferring the funds through a not-for-profit organization provides some additional legal positives that we might go into more detail about in a future blog post. We suspended the possibility to pay via bitcoin a while ago and are still working on re-enabling it. The first iteration of the new HKCCP will  not include support for bitcoin payments but it lays the technical foundation to do so with a reasonable investment of development resources.

Your feedback is important to us

Let us know your thoughts on the upcoming changes. Send us an email with your feedback and concerns.